The Beach Guide

Top 7 Portugal Beaches

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Portugal is a country with a history dominated by its long coastline; from the days of being a great sea power, its fishing industry and most recently tourism. Combined with an excellent climate it is little wonder Portugal is one of Europe's most popular beach holiday destinations.

There is a great choice of beaches in Portugal and these differ widely in every respect. The Estoril coast near Lisbon has a series of cosmopolitan city beaches whilst the beaches of the Algarve are characterised by azure waters and fantastical rock formations.

Although the climate is Mediterranean unlike other countries in Southern Europe Portugal has an Atlantic coast which faces into the full force of the ocean waves. Many of the west coast beaches are excellent for surfing and tend to be vast expanses of golden sand.

Portugal's beaches are generally clean and this is reflected in a number of Blue Flag award beaches - a sure sign of a pollution-free, family friendly beach.

  • Benagil Beach // Algarve

    Benagil Beach
    © Sven Grüne

    Like many others on the Algarve, Benagil was a small fishing village. Unlike many others Benagil has managed to retain some of its charm and a little of its industry. Along with the sandstone cliffs, clear waters and golden sand of this archetypal Algarvian cove you will find fishing boats, baskets and nets and a few of the fishermen who still work from here. Despite… read more »

  • Guincho Beach // Lisbon

    Guincho Beach

    Guincho beach, near Cascais, is not what many people imagine when thinking of the archetypal Portuguese beach. Despite being within an hour of the capital, Lisbon, Guincho has a wild desolate feel. Well, except for the summer months when it doesn't!

    This wide stretch of fine, golden sand sits in the shadow of the forested hills of Sintra, one of Portugal's most beautiful towns. To… read more »

  • Praia da Bordeira // Algarve

    Praia da Bordeira
    © CanStockPhoto

    Bordeira beach is located on the wild, western coast of the Algarve which is a very different place to the resort beaches further south. This magnificent stretch of wide open golden sand is pounded by the full force of the Atlantic waves making it one of the most popular surf spots in the Algarve region. One of the lovely things about Bordeira is it is… read more »

  • Praia da Marinha // Algarve

    Praia da Marinha
    © Inacio Pires / 123RF

    Ocre coloured cliffs are a trademark of the coves of the central Algarve, as are the amazing rock formations and clear aquamarine waters. However, with the possible exception of Praia Dona Ana in Lagos, nowhere are these rocks as spectacular as at Praia da Marinha.

    Over the millennia the ocean has carved the limestone cliffs here into various arches, caves and pinnacles making this one… read more »

  • Praia da Rocha // Algarve

    Praia da Rocha
    © CanStockPhoto

    Praia da Rocha is one of the Algarve's best known and certainly most impressive beaches. A vast expanse of golden sand backed by the ocre coloured sandstone cliffs unique to this stretch of the Algarve. The beach's name translates to 'rock beach' and this refers to the numerous rock formations that punctuate the golden sand towards the western end. Being located on the doorstep of… read more »

  • Costa da Caparica // Lisbon

    Costa da Caparica
    © sam74100

    Located just across the bridge from Lisbon is Costa da Caparica. This resort town is little known outside of Portugal, but incredibly popular with Lisbon locals during the summer months.

    It is easy to see why; a seemingly endless expanse of fine golden sand facing into the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean provide a string of beaches, each with their own charms and character. The… read more »

  • Ilha Deserta // Algarve

    Ilha Deserta
    © Animaris / CC BY

    Ilha Deserta means deserted island and this small sandy isle just off the coast of Faro lives up to its name. At 7km (5 miles) long the island has plenty of beach for all of its zero permanent inhabitants. Even in the height of summer you would be unfortunate if you had to share your stretch of beach with more than a few others -… read more »